Clubz, an Israeli-made social media application, hopes to compete with Facebook and others for connecting and sharing content between users with common interests.
“Facebook fatigue“ — where users decide they have had enough of the world’s largest social network and quit — is bad news for Mark Zuckerberg, but good news for Israeli entrepreneur Moish Levin because it means his new Clubz app has one fewer competitor. “Clubz is a platform for people to get together and share photos, videos, and other content with like-minded people,” said Levin. “You get to share your interests and meet new people who can join the group as well.”
There are hundreds of interest groups (or “clubs”) accessible with the Clubz mobile app. Despite apparent similarities to other group platforms, such as Facebook Groups, Clubz is completely different, said Levin. He could not cite specific statistics (“Facebook doesn’t release this information,” said Levin), but said that “many people in the social media industry have told me that Facebook does not consider its Groups engagement to be successful.” There were many articles over the past year about Facebook’s declining popularity, especially among kids, and Levin tends to agree with that assessment.
Although there are many successful Facebook Group pages (with success defined by a high level of user engagement), there are many more that languish due to a lack of interest, said Levin. “Because it’s a social network, Facebook offers tools primarily geared to individual engagement, so they somewhat ignore groups. Plus, to promote a group you really need to pay Facebook fees, which makes it even less appealing to group managers,” said Levin.
Clubz is geared specifically to groups. “We provide tools that enable group managers to find more people with the same interests, including tools to interact with other social networks,” said Levin. “We have instant sharing to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and more, tools to create videos on the fly, comments, likes and dislikes — everything necessary for successful interaction.” Users can peruse the groups and join the ones they like or start their own and attract other users. Plus, it’s completely free, with no premium charges to promote a group, Levin added.
If Facebook and many other networks haven’t been able to make groups work, why does Levin think Clubz will be different? “Not all interfaces are successful on all platforms,” said Levin. “Clubz, and groups in general, will be much more successful on mobile platforms than it was on desktops. We built Clubz from the bottom up for mobile devices. Groups were never a focus on the other social networks as they are on Clubz.”
Levin illustrates the problem with groups on other platforms with a personal example. “I’m a swimmer and I wanted to discuss swimming issues with others who like the sport, but I couldn’t find an appropriate group experience on Facebook — the best I could do was connect with individual swimmers. Then I tried Whatsapp, but the information there was just technical, like hours at swim clubs, etc. In addition, I could only connect with the people I already knew, as Whatsapp doesn’t let you connect with new people.” Clubz, he notes, fills those gaps.
Clubz is free to download and use, but Levin has some monetization tricks up his sleeve. “We can do group segmentation and analysis at a very hard level,” said Levin. “We know a lot about the interests of users, so we can market that information to advertisers and help them build a targeted campaign. Some of the clubs — such as those devoted to business issues — could in the future be turned into premium groups, which we would operate on a revenue-sharing basis with the club manager. We could also have promoted clubs for products and brands, etc.”
Clubz is ready to emerge from its Israeli beta, said Levin, and is set to debut in the US and Europe in the coming weeks. “Right now my partner and I are doing all the funding, but we are in talks with an angel for a seed round of funding,” said Levin. “We’ve had a very successful run in Israel, with thousands of users signing up in our first three months. Now we are looking forward to making a go of it abroad, as well.”